Don't reject development in Penang's rural south

    (Updated )

    I'm a resident at Teluk Kumbar, the area where the state government plans to build the LRT and reclaim islands to provide affordable housing and development.

    If you visit Teluk Kumbar, which is 20km from George Town, you'll see how underdeveloped the place is. There is only one ATM, which is inside a 7-11 store. The nearest bank is 6km away in Sungai Tiram.

    In the past, Penang south was left out from the state's industrial and tourism growth. We are still a rural place while other areas are being developed.

    Some residents here had to turn to the sea to become fishermen because of the lack of jobs and business opportunities. I was a fisherman too before I decided to work in the industrial zone, outside of Teluk Kumbar, for a more stable income.

    Therefore, I welcome the state government's plan to develop this area. The protest by the NGO against our development is very selfish and shortsighted.

    These protesters want us to continue to live as fishermen with unstable incomes. They are depriving us and our children the benefits of development.

    What's worse is that they are politicising the issue. The NGO is working with political parties (PAS and Umno) to prevent development in our area. Religion and racial sentiment are being used to protest against the development that we deserve. The NGO is not neutral.

    The state government and the public must see through the ugly politics behind the protest against our opportunity for a better future in the rural south.

    Political parties should stop making the possibility of our development as their political gamble.

    The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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